Sunday, June 22, 2014

My First Epic Soap Seize!

I have been managing to get some soaping in the past two weekends, although the pace is slowing.  I'm also managing to get some quilting in, hoping to get Michelle's quilt done before the summer is over.  These three pieces of hand dye are staring at me from the design wall- I keep trying to figure out what they are telling me!

The one on the left is for the Ugly Fabric challenge on a yahoo group I'm part of- I think it needs one more overdye, with a really pale blue to knock back the orange tone to the red.  The middle one is a lovely hand dye done by Lisa of my Tangled Textiles group.  I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it for our August challenge.  At first, I thought I'd leave it whole, but now I'm thinking I'm going to cut it up.  I have a couple of ideas that I'll play with on paper first.  The one on the right is one of my favorite pieces from Carol Soderlund's workshop last fall.  I don't want to cut it up, but now I'm thinking I'll border it with Osnaburg, quilt, and add some embroidery.  We'll see- the middle one comes first!

I did several soap experiments.  I made more lavender swirl soap, and was happy with how it turned out.  

See those bubble things?  I learned that those are glycerin rivers, and they are caused by overheating in soap that has titanium dioxide in it.  The soap is perfectly usable, and the texture doesn't bother me- I think it can look kind of cool.

Then I tried salt bars, with a pink pencil line using rose clay.  I also topped them with a dusting of rose clay and pink Himalayan salt.  They look great, no?

Except they crumbled- badly.  Apparently that is a common occurrence with salt bars.  So, I ordered a new mold, one that allows you to make twelve individual bars, so no cutting.  Once that got here, I rebatched the bars with a little coconut milk and water.  They look crumbly as all get out, but when I took them out of the molds this morning, they held.  I do love silicone molds!

So I won't be trying to sell these, but they are perfectly usable.
Last weekend I wanted to try making an ombre soap using a natural colorant.  I decided to try baby carrots.  I waaay overthought the ombre bit- I should have just thought of dyeing a value gradation!- but I am very happy with how these turned out!

I just hope the color holds- from everything I've read, that seems to be more of an issue with natural colorants than ultramarines and oxides.

So that experience had me thinking- how can I use charcoal to make a black to white soap?  I thought I had it figured out, so made my batch this morning.  I think I even had the gradation bit figured out to make it easier, but the soap did not cooperate- I got what is known as 'soap on a stick', which meant the soap solidified in the bowls.  At first I thought it was the charcoal, but then I realized the soap I'd left white seized also.  So that meant it had to be the essential oils.  I'd used three- cedarwood, oregano, and peppermint.  Oregano was the only one I'd never used in soap before.

I made an identical batch of the soap, but left out the oregano, and instead just used cedarwood and peppermint.  The second batch behaved perfectly!  I didn't do the ombre, but it does have three colors in it.  I got a lovely swirl on the top, the best I've done so far.

I am purposely not insulating this soap, to see if that eliminates the glycerin rivers.  There is also a surprise inside, which won't be revealed until I cut the soap!

I have also been packaging and labeling the soap I will have for sale at the quilting festival in mid-July.  Doesn't Michelle's quilt make a good backdrop for this soap?

The paper wrap and button is not a long term packaging solution, but it looked appropriate for a vendor at a quilt festival.  All I need to add is my label on the back of the soap- you can see the ingredient label on the bottom of the soaps.

I love all the felted soaps I've done!  I have more to do, I'll need to find more roving before too long.

All in all, a busy couple of weeks.  Four more days of work, then my brother arrives from Reno for a short visit- then I'm off on the train to Colorado to see Shannon for a few days.  I'm looking forward to the break!!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Absent- and Busy!

Almost a month since I blogged- and for once, it's not because I've had nothing going on.  Au contraire, I feel like I've been running the past several weekends.

Memorial weekend we went to Moab for the Art Festival.  I was so enjoying it all, I did not take a single picture.  I managed to get more earrings from a vendor I love, got a naturally dyed silk scarf from another vendor, and spent some time speaking with a natural soap and lotions vendor.  The only downside was the not very cooperative weather- not as bad as the car show weekend, but still cooler than I wanted, interspersed with rain.  I do love Moab!

Last weekend we went exploring up Payson Canyon.  I'd hoped for some hiking, but that turned out to be more of a short walk than anything.  We drove up to Maple Lake, thinking it would be a mile and a half hike to the lake.  Turned out to be a short walk to the lake, then maybe a mile around it.  It was beautiful, however.

The greens and blues just seemed incredibly intense that day! While starting to walk around the little lake, I thought I saw a heron, then decided I was mistaken.  Then Shiloh scared something, and I realized I had seen a heron!  I got this shot of it up at the top of a tree, safe from my crazy dog.

Since the hike was so short, Sean fished for awhile- then we decided to drive the entire Nebo Loop.  So we kept going up the canyon, stopping at places that looked interesting.

Turned out, the loop wasn't open yet- we got over the top a little ways, then hit a gate.  I can't believe there would still be snow there- but maybe they haven't finished all the maintenance.  On the way back down the way we came up, we stopped at the viewpoint for Utah Lake.  It really was a spectacular view of Utah valley.

This weekend, I've done some quilting, and I've done some soapy stuff.  Michelle's pink quilt is coming along- if I can just do a couple of hours every weekend, it shouldn't take that long to finish.

The thread I'm using isn't really orange, it's a dusty pink that blends well with everything.  I'm planning to throw this quilt in the washer and dryer when I am done, hoping to get that crinkled effect.  Once that's done, I figure my somewhat wonky quilting won't show much at all.

I also spent several hours wrapping soap.  This idea will work for the show I'm vending at in July, but it is not a long term solution.  I still need to figure out some inexpensive embellishment for this side of the soap.  My ingredients label is on the bottom, and my other label will go on the other side.

And, I finished the last of my felted soaps.  I hope these sell well!

So that is what I have been up to.  Work is crazy making right now- this is the stuff that feeds my soul and keeps me sane.